The publication is mainly intended for employees of heritage institutions in order to be their guide in the world of historical gramophone record labels. Every record company used a certain numbering system on labels, and if we are able to correctly decipher them, this will provide us with reliable information about the content of each record, despite the fact that it is not explicitly described on labels. This also about more than just their content: understanding them allows for a given gramophone record label to be assigned to the correct manufacturer, to determine when the audio recording was produced, and possibly the date of its pressing into shellac.
The publication includes a list of basic identification marks such as matrix, order or catalogue numbers and their time series. Knowledge of the importance of these numerical markings has thus far been the prerogative of private experts-collectors and remains hidden fornormal cataloguers. This publication will therefore fill the gap in our knowledge and become an indispensable tool for solving the “mysteries” that the descriptions of these older sources usually bring. Because many of our heritage institutions still face the challenge cataloguing these records for the first time, or for the first time under current standardized rules of description, it will certainly serve as a methodical aid to them. The record companies that are primarily included are those that captured sound recordings of Czech artists from 1900 to 1946, it was possible to buy the recordings on the domestic market, or to later encounter them in funds and in the collections of heritage institutions. Some of the world’s major record companies are also briefly discussed, despite the fact that they did not record any Czech repertoire.
This publication does not address recordings on shellac phonograph records on 78 rpm appearing after the nationalization of the gramophone industry in Czechoslovakia (i.e. after 1946).